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An Inheritance of Ashes
     

An Inheritance of Ashes

2.3 3
by Leah Bobet
 

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The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm. 
 
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon

Overview


The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm. 
 
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.  

  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/24/2015
This superb fantasy takes place in a grim world that readers will come to recognize as a future North America. Reasons for society’s collapse aren’t given, but civilization is at a roughly 19th-century level. Guns are considered relics, but no one thinks twice about having Hmong neighbors. Months ago 16-year-old Hallie’s brother-in-law, Thom, marched away from the farm she co-owns with her sister, Marthe, to fight the Wicked God Southward, an entity that traveled through a rent in the universe and, accompanied by its Twisted Things, was turning their world to ash. The ragtag human army defeated the Wicked God, but Thom, like many others, did not return; those who did have been badly damaged. When Hallie finds another Twisted Thing on the farm, the horror seems ready to return. Bobet (Above) is an accomplished stylist (a survivor of the war “carried the distance between us, five feet back and steady, like the borders of a whole universe”), and she insightfully examines the corrosive dangers of sibling rivalry in a story filled with impossible choices and unknowable ambiguities. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"An exciting adventure teeming with eloquent language, distinct characters, and wicked monsters that will appeal to teen fans of fantasy."
VOYA

"War, community, long-festering anger, and forgiveness—all thoughtfully and deliberately conveyed."
Kirkus


• "Bobet is an accomplished stylist...and she insightfully examines the corrosive dangers of sibling rivalry in a story filled with impossible choices and unknowable ambiguities."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A compelling interrogation of faith versus science . . . readers with an interest in either will find this to be an elevation from the run-of-the-mill dystopia.” 
—Bulletin
VOYA, December 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 5) - Maia Raynor
In the aftermath of the war, Hallie and her sister, Marthe, struggle to keep the family farm afloat. When a desperate veteran shows up on their doorstep looking for work, it is impossible to turn him down. Soon strange things start to happen. Wicked things and ghosts appear. It is up to Hallie to save her farm and family before it is too late. Inheritance Of Ashes is an exciting adventure teeming with eloquent language, distinct characters, and wicked monsters that will appeal to teen fans of fantasy. Reviewer: Maia Raynor, Teen Reviewer; Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA, December 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 5) - Deena Viviani
After her mother dies, her uncle flees, and her father dies, Hallie and her older sister, Marthe, are left alone to take care of the family farm. Over the summer of Hallie’s sixteenth year, everything changes again: a war rages in nearby James River against the Wicked God and its Twisted Things, creatures that burn whatever they touch and threaten to destroy the lakelands. When the war ends, the god defeated, Hallie and Marthe await the return of Marthe’s husband, Thom. But he does not return, leaving Marthe pregnant, and Hallie’s relationship with her strained. A veteran named Heron happens upon the farm, and Hallie invites him on to work, but a new Twisted Thing is spotted and panic returns to the town. Hallie must find the source of the evil if she has any hope of saving what is left of her family and home. The world in this fantasy is extremely well imagined, and the story expertly told. The literary writing, creepy atmosphere, imperfect yet determined main character, and overarching story of family make this a great novel. The history of the world is not detailed, although it feels like it takes place in a future United States around the Great Lakes, after an unnamed apocalypse that sets the country back a couple hundred years. Recommend this to fans of Laini Taylor’s Daughter Of Smoke And Bone (Little, Brown, 2011/Voya October 2011) and other fantasy readers with sophisticated taste. Reviewer: Deena Viviani; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Allison Fetters
The Twisted Things (hybrid monsters) have arrived at Roadstead Farm, along with a mysterious traveler called Heron. Instinctively knowing he may not be what he seems, sixteen-year-old Hallie convinces her sister to hire him. Regardless of his true identity, Hallie knows Heron’s help is much needed for their dying farm that is disintegrating at a rate she cannot control. While dealing with the terror brought on by the burning and vicious evils falling from the sky, Hallie also struggles with her own sense of being and feelings she does not belong. She is tortured by her past life with a cruel father and struggles to come to terms with her sister, Marthe, in the present day, as well as with her relationships with others. Neighbor Tyler seems to be the only constant as Hallie wages her internal battle to find answers, protect Roadstead Farm and Windstown, and to save her brother-in-law, Thom, from the Wicked God Southward’s alternate world in which Thom is trapped. The dark yet beautiful imagery of this story weaves a multi-layered tale as Hallie pushes aside her self-doubts in order to accomplish the impossible: to save her world from being overtaken by the Wicked God Southward. Reviewer: Allison Fetters; Ages 13 up.
Kirkus Reviews
2015-07-27
When a supernatural war reaches her farm, Hallie fights to defend her land while struggling with familial estrangement. The elder sibling always inherits Roadstead Farm, so despite a surprising will left by her late father stating that Hallie and her older sister, Marthe, each own half, Hallie lives with the constant fear that she'll be kicked out. Recent times are especially upsetting. Although the local men marched to war against the Wicked God Southward and returned victorious, they came home wounded and damaged. It turns out the peculiar war isn't finished after all: Twisted Things—the Wicked God's hybrid animal-monsters that scorch and smoke against anything they touch, even air—fall out of the sky to land on Roadstead Farm. Bobet tenderly braids together an enigmatic hired man, a neighbor family sharing the warmth that Hallie and Marthe have lost with each other, and an agricultural setting that at first appears fictional but emerges as a post-apocalyptic North America in which cities fell and machines "went dark." The story's deep and sobering core is about family, blame, misunderstanding, and the nature of home. Despite the clear possibility of utter destruction, the pace of Hallie's narration is unhurried and reflective rather than speedy or suspenseful. A marriage between two men is organic and unremarked-upon. Only an overabundance of poetic but lofty metaphors and similes hampers the flow and the believability of Hallie's voice. War, community, long-festering anger, and forgiveness—all thoughtfully and deliberately conveyed. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544281110
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


ONE
 
The barley was in. The stubble of it lay bent-broke in the fields as far as the eye could see, rows of golden soldiers, endlessly falling, from the river to the blacktop road. On a clear evening, with the harvesting done, you could see both river and road from the farmhouse porch: every acre, lined in sunset light, of Roadstead Farm.
 
So I was the first to see him. Everyone claimed a sighting in the stories that grew up later: a dark man, with a dark walk, striding bravely through the dying grainfields. But it wasn’t like that. I was the first to see the stranger when he came to the lakelands, and he stumped up the road like a scarecrow stuffed with stones. Marthe’s chimney smoke drifted to meet him, a thin taste of home fires. He caught its scent, his head tilted into the breeze, and hesitated at the weathered signpost where our farm began.
 
It can’t be, I thought, breathless, and then he straightened—and strode up the gravel path to our door.
 
For a moment I forgot the argument Marthe and I had just had: every vicious thing I’d said to my sister. I leaned forward, fingers wrapped around the porch rail, and squinted at the silhouette ghosting through our fields: The fields Thom and I had planted together before the men marched off to war. The fields I’d harvested alone—and was still working alone, plowing them under for the winter, when I wasn’t having pointless, nasty arguments with Marthe over nothing more than a heel of bread.
 
No, I told myself. It was about more than the stupid bread.
 
It was about . . . everything.
 
I’d known right away that asking was a mistake. Marthe had been wrestling with the autumn canning since sunrise, as behind on our winter stores as I was on the woodpile, and the second the word bread came out of my mouth, her face fell into put-upon fatigue. And suddenly I couldn’t bear to hear her tell me for the thousandth time—like I was a slow child and not half owner of Roadstead Farm—“Hallie, I need you to try harder.”
 
One more chore before I could taste a bite of supper, because Thom was gone and the war had killed half our harvest. Because of the November wind outside, the woodpile that wouldn’t get us past January, the snarled hole in the chicken coop that let the foxes in. Every time she said it, I could see the disappointment in her eyes: self-centered, childish, useless Hallie. Hallie, not strong enough.
 
“I’m trying, okay?” I pleaded, exhausted, hungry, cold. Marthe stared down at me, sweat-smeared and impatient; no mud on her boots and no sympathy in her eyes. She doesn’t understand, I realized, and then it hit me: She doesn’t care.
 
“It’s easy for you to say,” I shouted, wild with hurt. “It’s not you out there, working yourself dead.”
 
Marthe stiffened. Put down her cheesecloth, slow. She didn’t say anything; she didn’t have to. She was just in the kitchen working herself dead, seven months round with Thom Clarlund’s child. The doorway stood deadly quiet between us, as wide as the wound of Thom’s missingness. And then my sister did something she never had in the six years since Papa’s funeral: she shut the door in my face.
 
I stared at that door a full minute before it sank in: You’ve finally gone too far.
 
It had been eight years since the fight that ended things between Papa and Uncle Matthias; eight years since my uncle went his lonely way. Marthe and I—at this rate we wouldn’t even make it to my seventeenth birthday.
 
But none of that—none of it—mattered if Thom was finally home.
 
The wind stirred my hair, stirred the edges of that ragged silhouette in the broken barley fields. Please, I thought, be Thom. Not some man two inches too tall who walked all wrong, who didn’t wave to me—
 
I let myself believe it for thirty delicious seconds before I let the truth in: It wasn’t Thom. Just another veteran coming up the road, with a family who was waiting and wouldn’t have to wait much longer. Just another stranger.
 
The man set down his pack five feet from the porch rail, in the soft gravel and dust. He was full-grown, but not long to it: twenty-three or four and long with muscle, his brown forearms three shades paler than Thom ever got. He huddled before me in a red-checked flannel work shirt worn threadbare, useless against the chill November breeze. My breath puffed out. It was plain what he wanted. He had a soldier’s sleevebuttons, and his boots were in ribbons.
 
“We’ve nothing to spare,” I muttered, too distracted to say it louder. He wasn’t Thom, Marthe was still furious, and I was still in trouble. I stared into the dirt at his feet: Please, please go away. “You might try the Masons down the road.”
 
He neglected to pick up his pack immediately, turn around, and never be seen again.
 
Instead, he took off his cap. There was a shock of black hair under it, pulled back in a cattleman’s tail. “Thank you,” he said, quiet for such a big-shouldered man, “but I’m actually hoping to hire on.”
 
I blinked. The barley was in. Anyone could see that.
 
“I’m quick with my fingers,” he kept on. He had an accent more suited to the wild country northward than our lakeland farmsteads and ruins. “And I don’t eat much.”
 
My hands tightened on the rail. “You’re come from the war.”
 
The man tucked his chin with a passable country respect.
 
“You by any chance pass a man on the road, shorter than you by a few inches?” I worked to keep my voice casual. “Twenty-seven, dark skin, brown eyes, name of Thomas Clarlund?”
 
The stranger pressed his lips together, a hair’s-width, no farther. “I’m afraid I’ve not passed any travelers in some weeks.”
 
A tiny shudder moved through me, from the rib cage down. I shut my eyes against it: against the empty road and the ruin I’d made of the farm Thom, Marthe, and I had built up together.
 
“We don’t take on help past harvest,” I said hollowly. His starved face emptied like a water bucket. All I could see inside it was some black-haired mother or sister pacing behind wood walls, weeks north, her door left unlatched past midnight in case he arrived before dawn. “Look, I can spare some apples. I’ll give you apples if you just go home.” Frustration beat hollow fists against my temples. Thom, if you’ve hired on somewhere—“Your people don’t know if you’re alive or dead. You can’t do that to them.”
 
His smile twisted like a scar. “Don’t worry,” he said crisply. “No one’s waiting for me to turn life normal again.”
 
I flinched. That wasn’t why I wanted Thom home. That wasn’t it at all.
 
Something in his eyes flinched back. That anti-smile faltered. “I’m sorry,” he said, humbler. “You’re being kind and I was just snide.”
 
I blinked. “Kind?” I’d done everything but run him off.
 
He lifted his chin and regarded me: a girl too sunburned to be pretty and too small to throw him bodily off the kitchen porch. “You looked at this”—and he gestured down, from that soft north country accent to tattered shirtsleeves and the reek of sweat—“and saw a man someone might wait for.”
 
I’d done everything but run him off. I hadn’t run him off. And for that—
 
No one had ever called me kind before.
 
“So if it’s too late for harvest,” he finished, oblivious to my surprise, “I’ll help however I can.”
 
I bit back the automatic response: I can do this, the ugly chorus of every fight Marthe and I ever had, with the ghosts of Papa and Uncle Matthias hovering over our shoulders. I can run this farm. I can earn my keep if you just give me a little more time. I had to, so Thom had somewhere to come home to. So Marthe and I could laugh again, could build pillow forts under the table like we did when I was young. So we could raise her almost-child together in our own house—a house where everybody knew the younger Hoffmann sister was still half owner of Roadstead Farm.
 
I looked down across the soft, gray fields, to the thick green of the changeable river that cradled us in its hand. Between them the cherry trees flung their branches stark against the sunset and the goats lay in their paddock, curled around each other to sleep. You could see every speck of Hoffmann land from this spot; on a clear night, you could see all the way to the stars. You could see the half-full woodpile; you could see the broken wagon wheel, sunk in mud, and one stranger, strong and grateful just for shelter—the kind who would just move on to the next town if Roadstead Farm blew away into dust.
 
If the man in front of me could help this farm work right, things might be good between Marthe and me again—even if he was two inches too tall to be Thom. And then it wouldn’t matter if Marthe didn’t understand me, because I’d never let her down again.
 
“You understand we can’t pay you,” I said.
 
“Room and board is all I’d ask.”
 
“Right, then.” I spun on my heel and stepped into the kitchen.
 
“I thought I told you to stay outside,” Marthe snapped. She was baking bread after all: the air was sweet and dusty with yeast, and the dough sounded, slap-thump, against her good block table. You didn’t tell me anything, I thought at her, smart enough, at least this time, not to say it aloud. We’d lived in the same house for sixteen years. She hadn’t had to tell me to not dare cross this doorstep until she invited me back in.
 
My sister turned, and her brown hair slid out of its messy twist. Marthe was pretty, when she wasn’t coiled with anger. And Marthe had been throwing grown men off our property since before I could walk. I bit down on a river of resentment, of curdled love. “There’s a man wanting hire.”
 
“Barley’s done,” she said, as if I hadn’t noticed.
 
“He’s a veteran,” I added, and watched her arms stutter: slap-trip-thump.
 
She untangled her fingers from the dough and peered out the kitchen window. “Not much to look at.” I winced. It was true: tall or not, he was thin to the ribs, a scarecrow with a beard like spilled ink and a nose that had definitely been broken.
 
“He said,” I added reluctantly, “he’s not passed anyone in weeks.”
 
Marthe’s hand grasped air; landed on the stewpot spoon. “What are you saying?”
 
I bit my lip. My sister was infuriating, condescending, endlessly moody, but—there were our fights and then there was this. “I want to take him on,” I said, and waited for the storm to break.
 
Her rounded cheeks paled; her mouth set into a thin, hard line. “Why?” she said finally, too controlled by far.
 
“For the poultry barn.” I swallowed. “With someone else around I could fix it and start the malting, and not worry about the woodpile or cleaning the goat pen or the fields, and then I could even get to dry-docking the boat and all the chores in town—”
 
The words ran out. Marthe stared at me with a compressed hurt that was worse than any rage. We’d lived in the same house for sixteen years. She could hear what I really meant: Because I’m not strong enough to keep this farm or this family alive while we pretend Thom’s coming home.
 
“I thought it might be good,” I whispered, “with the baby coming.”
 
Marthe’s hand drifted to her belly, dusting the old apron with flour. Unspoken words flitted across her face: linens, lifetimes, rations of small brown eggs, and it all added up to no, no, no.
 
“I know we can’t pay him,” I said quickly. “He just wants a place to be overwinter. Marthe, I have to. He’s barely got boots.”
 
“Charity, then?” she said, surprised: a flicker of the sister I knew—who saw me, who cared about me. Who still, sometimes, smiled.
 
It’s just he said, I thought wonderingly, that I was kind. “It’d get us through the winter,” I said. “And I’d want someone to, if it was—”
 
Marthe threw the wooden spoon clean across the kitchen. It clattered against the crockery shelf, smacked a blue clay mug, and rattled, dishes ringing, to the floor. The mug wobbled. I didn’t dare steady it. Marthe’s damp hair curtained down her cheek, over sheer, gutshot pain.
 
I swallowed.
 
Marthe stared at the spoon. Her right hand worked, and then she scrubbed it across her face as if she was very tired. “Put a pallet in the old smokehouse. At least with the stove he won’t freeze,” she said, and bowed her head over the squashed bread.
 
“All right,” I whispered, through the sudden roar of my own heartbeat. I shoved shaking hands into my pockets and went back outside.
 
The soldier stood at attention five feet off the porch, as wary of the line between the house’s shadow and the sun as I was of Marthe’s kitchen doorway. He didn’t even twitch: better at keeping a plain face, plain hands than I would ever be.
 
“You’re to have a pallet in the smokehouse,” I forced out. In a soot-stained junkyard we’d meant to clean out for six years. “My sister will give you spare linens.” My hands were still trembling. I’d won the argument, but Marthe’s grief, Marthe’s frustration
 
This didn’t feel like winning.
 
“It’s her farm?”
 
“Ours.” Papa’s snarl peaked, banked, and faded. “Our father willed it to the both of us.”
 
If he was surprised, he feigned well enough; he nodded and shouldered his brown leather pack. “Thank you, miss.”
 
“It’s Hallie,” I said. “My sister’s Marthe. From Roadstead Farm, in the lakelands.”
 
“Heron,” he offered, and tilted his head with something finer, deeper than lakeland manners.
 
“Heron, from the war,” I said bitterly.
 
His lips pressed shut for a moment. “From the war,” he agreed.
 
“So,” I asked, “did you see it?”
 
No reason to say what it was. The war was won when John Balsam, a man simple and small, lifted his dagger and cut out the Wicked God Southward’s dark heart. Tyler Blakely had carried the tale home three weeks past midsummer, limping on a leg once hale and thick, his eyes blasted pale with the sight of it. We’d already realized a change, though, here on the river: Birds not known on the riverbanks since Opa’s generation washed up dead and open-mouthed each sunrise. The stars rumbled nightly, too low and regular for thunder. Greta Chaudhry’s hives failed, and Berkhardt Mason’s orchards. By the time the Twisted Things staggered, wounded, through our fields, we couldn’t tell if the war was won or lost. Half our crops had burned at the touch of their acrid wings: a whole winter’s provisions gone up in noise and smoke. We shoveled their bodies into bonfires by night and prayed, among the cinders, for news.
 
We didn’t know what it meant, then. Those three weeks, we held our breaths.
 
“I didn’t see it,” my new hired man said softly, and closed his hand around his satchel strap. “I turned my face away.”
 
I opened my mouth. Shut it. I hadn’t expected a real answer, and now I didn’t know what to say. Not one lakelands man who went to battle with the Wicked God Southward would speak a word about how he fell, but they all saw it. You could tell it from their eyes: newly guarded, and dark as pits. They all saw.
 
The stranger’s own eyes had abruptly lost their kindness. They shuttered, chilly as river ice. They made me feel young, and ignorant, and small.
 
“I’ll show you where you’re bunking,” I said, unsettled, and wrapped my fingers in the dusty flannel of my shirtsleeve. There was more to a farm than a kindly face, and you still didn’t shake with hired men.
 

Meet the Author


Leah Bobet is a bookseller, publisher, and editor as well as a Pushcart-Prize nominated author. She lives in Toronto. www.leahbobet.com

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An Inheritance of Ashes 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Starting with a very dark and sad tone, the story revolves around sisters Hallie and Marthe, and their struggles to maintain the family lands and farm. A war has raged on for years, and 16 year old Hallie is responsible for near everything, her sister is pregnant and her husband Thom is still away fighting. The war is a layered one: humans, the Twisted Things and the Wicked God are all struggling for supremacy, and it seems as if their farm is the central location for the battle. Most certainly different from anything I have read, Bobet shows imagination in the development of unusual characters and backstory to the war. Unfortunately there were so many elements that I was expected to accept with broad brushstroke explanations rather than more detail giving context and adding richness. I want to have the history that puts events in context, and there were moments where I wished for more. Hallie was a strong character, and wholly sixteen in her moments of self-pity. While those moments played into her doubts, she is far stronger than she realizes, and every ounce of that strength will be needed for what comes next. Most of her time between working the farm or joining with her friends to defeat the Twisted Things is spent keeping Marthe in the dark about just how dire the situation is. While I wish that she was more open with Marthe and would rely on their bond, the disconnect between the two didn’t always work for me. A budding romance that didn’t delve into a love triangle, thankfully, worked nicely to soften Hallie and give us reason to hope for more in the future for them. Not great, but certainly solid, the read kept me interested even as a hoped for a bit more. But, readers who are of the age to connect better to Hallie, or those who prefer a dark and gloomy read will find this a good fit for their shelves. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
BoundlessBookaholic More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this book based on the summary, but I found myself being disappointed. It was still an okay book, but it was slow and kind of odd. The last half/quarter of the book was more interesting, but I almost did not finish this one because it wasn’t holding my interest in the beginning. I ended up giving this 2 out of 5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for a honest review. The summary and the amazing cover made me request this book. A fantasy, dystopian book about gods and monsters? It sounds amazing, right? I had high hopes for this book, but it was way too slow. I’m not even sure I really liked any of the characters that much. Sure I felt bad for Hallie, but she was kind of a ‘poor me’ character. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her to get her to open up her eyes. The small town farm setting wasn’t my favorite either. There was quite a cast of characters, but we don’t really get to know a lot of them because of the farm’s isolation. I thought there was way too much emotional/mental drama between the sisters, even though half the time they barely spoke. Another thing I didn’t particularly like was the fact that there wasn’t really any romance. I love romance in a book. It’s not necessary for me when I’m reading, but having it as at least a subplot, and doing it well will go a long way with me. There’s some romance but it’s very minor. And I was rooting for them, but I wasn’t that invested. I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if things didn’t work out. Final note: I guess my expectations for this book were so high that it was easy to be disappointed. It was way too slow in my opinion and it didn’t really hold my interest. I know other people have liked it, so give it a try.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet Publisher: Clarion Books Publication Date: October 6, 2015 Rating: 2 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm. When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself. What I Liked: I downloaded this book from Edelweiss on a whim - I didn't know much about it, but I was curious about the author, and the paranormal aspect of the book. I've not read Bobet's debut novel. This novel was certainly unique, I don't think I've read anything like it before. While I didn't fully enjoy it, I did think it was pretty good! Hallie and her sister Marthe have been running their family's farm for years. With their father long dead, and Marthe very pregnant (she's 26, I believe), and Thom (Marthe's husband) still not home from the war, Hallie feels the pressure and failure of running things by herself. The war between human and Twisted Things and the Wicked God is over - or is it? When Twisted Things start to show up at Hallie's farm, and a a man asks to be hired help around the farm, Hallie knows that something is not right. Monsters and regiments both invade the farm, but Hallie will stop at nothing to protect what is hers, and her family. I had a hard time getting into this book initially, just because of the tone set. I'm putting this in the "likes" section because technically this shows how well Bobet wrote the opening scenes! There is so much sadness and pain. The prologue is a part of the past, in which Hallie's father and Uncle Matthias are fighting, and Uncle Matthias leaves. And then the first chapters open with Hallie working like a slave on the farm, her older sister vastly pregnant and awaiting the return of her husband from the way. We don't get all the details about what happened in the war, what the war was about, what the creatures were. We know that the Twisted Things are monsters from the Wicked God's world, and that John Balsam stabbed the Wicked God in the heart, thus ending the war. All of the paranormal aspects of this book are accepted and known, nothing comes as a surprise. There are more issues than just the reappearance of Twisted Things. Hallie and her sister have been running the farm, but Mayor Pitts doesn't want to help them in any way with the farm. When he hears that there are Twisted Things by the farm, he immediately wants to quarantine the area and send the regiment. And then there's Hallie's relationship with Marthe. Hallie feels like a failure around Marthe - nothing she ever does is good enough for Marthe, and she expects Marthe to throw her out like their father ran out Uncle Matthias. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)